Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Bessie Yoshida Konishi Interview
Narrator: Bessie Yoshida Konishi
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 13, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-kbessie-01-0008

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MA: I'm curious, you mentioned the migrant workers earlier. Who were these Japanese men?

BK: No, they were Hispanics. They were Hispanics. And there were a couple of families that lived here in Alamosa. And they, they would come out, and it'd be like generations, I mean, their kids would come, and then their grandkids would come. So it was like a family thing. And then when he needed extra workers, then he would drive into town and just go to a particular spot and there would be men lined up looking for work. No, they were all Hispanics. Yeah. But during potato season, sometimes we had American Indians come in.

MA: Oh, really?

BK: Uh-huh. From the southwest corner of Colorado, and from New Mexico.

MA: Is that where the majority of --

BK: The Indians lived. Yeah. No, they weren't Orientals. They were Hispanics, yeah.

MA: So when the Native Americans and the Hispanics would come work, was there much interaction between you and the workers? What was that, what was that like?

BK: Oh, not really, except some of them lived right on the farm and my dad had rooms for them to live in. And he was good to them. And we'd take breaks like in the morning and afternoon, and he'd bring refreshments to everybody and they were all included. Something to drink, something to eat. He'd bring boxes of apples out in the fall. He was good to his workers.

MA: How many, in general, how many workers were usually there?

BK: Oh, my gosh. I would say during harvest season, probably, gosh, I don't know, maybe, maybe three dozen, in addition to us. Yeah. It would just depend on the vegetable and harvest time.

MA: So harvest time would happen and then, and then after that they would --

BK: They would go back, uh-huh. Yeah.

MA: Who were the, was there any competition in the farming world where your dad was? Did he have any competitors or was it pretty ...?

BK: Well, vegetable farmers were mainly the Japanese. And so they would all work together. Like the packing shed that I mentioned earlier.

MA: Can you describe the packing shed a little bit for us?

BK: It was right by the railroad and so they could load the vegetables right on the railroad cars. And ice them down. And so they had their own corporation. I think the booklet that I gave you from the historian, there's a picture of that, I think, in there. Or a certificate of the corporation or something referring to the corporation.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.